The creepiness of dolls is a topic I return to again and again, just because I haven't squeezed all the squick out of it yet. Not by a long shot.
This all started with a '60s ad for Baby Echo, which took me to Baby Secret, which then landed me squarely in the Oz of Doll-land, that place where women (and men? Who knows, maybe they're out there but still in the closet) conspire to treat the inanimate as not only animate, but precious and irreplaceable.
Wikipedia talks about reborn dolls in a way which is obviously years out of date. There is no mention of the newer all-silicone, rubbery pink dolls that can be plunked into the bath water (as opposed to the older models with stuffed cloth bodies that have to be wiped down). It refers to the reborn phenomenon as being the province of bereaved, pathetic, disturbed older women. My research contradicts that. It's even more disturbing to me how young most of these "mothers" are: in their twenties or even their teens. Is this the "new parenthood", I wonder - no mess, no fuss, no pesky stages of maturation, just an endless, powerless babyhood? For unlike a kid, a reborn baby will never answer you back. Or answer you - at all.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of YouTube videos of women with their "reborn" dolls, taking them for walks, bathing them, buying clothes for them, etc. Some of them would class themselves as collectors, though this is often a mask for a fetish. "Dollers" insist there's nothing harmful about any of this. Isn't it normal and natural to treat a quivering pink blob of silicone like an infant?
As with not being able to look away from a train wreck, I've sat through lots of these. Mostly they're really long, maybe fifteen minutes of giving Little Presley her bath, or outlining Baby Grayson's morning routine: "Grayson! What do you want for breakfast this morning?" (Grayson is the one who gets sick and has to go to the doctor. What doctor would be willing to play along with this - a plastic surgeon who implants silicone breasts?). Many feature the grand opening of the box from eBay that the doll comes in.
But the Birth of Ellie Mae video takes the proverbial birthday cake, and the candles too. It's a youngish woman actually going into labour and giving birth to her blob of silicone, depicted in excruciating detail. I thought most of us gave up this sort of "role-playing" when we were ten years old. But apparently not. Apparently there is a whole class of adults who never grow up, who continue to "play" like Peter Pan, to play at babies, bondage, and a whole lot of other stuff I know nothing about. Last time I checked, relying on that kind of extreme behaviour to cope with life meant you weren't coping very well, if at all. But now - am I sounding old here? (yes) - it seems that anything goes. Nothing is a perversion any more. The line is blurring.
I couldn't watch all of this, and I don't advise YOU to watch all of this - just skip through it for the high- or low-lights. I have a million questions. . . Do her "friends" watch this sort of thing? Are they into it too, or is this solitary? Is it a sort of sex tape for silicones, made mainly for the participant's pleasure? Do these women already have children, do they want children, do they LIKE children, or have they lost a child and are looking for a substitute?
Why does it vex me so much to see a video of a woman opening her reborn dolls' Christmas presents, fingering the new outfits as if trying to see if they'll still fit in six months? Why does it chill me to hear middle-aged women go on and on about "hanging out all day long" with their "babies", or taking them to the Walmart to see what sort of reaction they'll get (knowing they'll shock the shit out of people, a form of sadism which most would probably vehemently deny)? I have even heard stories of women leaving their reborns in cars for long periods of time, as a weird kind of "bait". It's an unhealthy, even creepy attention-getting device which is one of the less-discussed aspects of the subject, mostly because people don't know how the fuck to respond to all this bizarre shit.
I always object to people who refer to their gerbils or Golden Retrievers as their "babies", but on second thought, I think they should call them whatever they want to. At least they are alive and sensate. They have a pulse. Shouldn't that be a minimum requirement for a baby?
Post-blog revelations. I'm writing this later, in the new year. I notice the original YouTube video has been taken down, for reasons unknown. Was there too much flak from those who are creeped out by the silicone baby phenomenon? Did the user realize it was just too over-the-top to film a "role-playing" video about giving birth to a gelatinous, inanimate blob? I'm not sure. Most of the comments for these kinds of videos are positive, believe it or not - breathless ooohs and aaaahs over how beautiful Little Kaylee is, and how they want one exactly like it. Which can no doubt be had.
You'll have to take my word for it how strange this was. Believe me! I saw it with my own eyes.